Deaths no higher in coffee lovers with heart disease

Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:02am EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Women with heart disease who down a few cups of coffee each day tend to live as long as those who avoid the beverage, according to a study.

The results, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, add to already mixed findings on whether caffeinated coffee is a hazard for people at high risk of cardiovascular problems.

The study, which followed nearly 12,000 U.S. nurses with a history of heart disease or stroke, found that those who regularly drank caffeinated coffee were no more likely to die than non-coffee drinkers during the study period, which spanned more than 20 years for some participants.

In fact, no link was found between a woman's coffee intake and her risk of death from heart attack, stroke or any other cause -- and this was true of even of women who drank four or more cups of coffee each day.

"Our results suggest that coffee drinking is okay for patients with cardiovascular disease, but it would be desirable to replicate our results in other populations," said lead researcher Esther Lopez-Garcia, of Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain.

The results came from the long-running Nurses' Health Study, which began tracking more than 100,000 female nurses in 1976. The researchers focused on 11,697 women who developed heart disease or had a stroke sometime between 1976 and 2002.

Of those women, 62 percent continued to drink caffeinated coffee after their diagnosis.

Overall, 1159 women had died by 2004. That risk was no greater among coffee drinkers than non-drinkers, including women who drank at least four cups a day.

One possibility is that women in relatively worse health might choose to avoid caffeinated coffee, the study authors noted. But they found no evidence that changes in women's coffee intake after their heart complication or stroke explained the findings.   Continued...

<p>A barman prepares a cappuccino at Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea in the Silverlake area of Los Angeles October 19, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>